This is going to be unlike any other Christmas post you’ve read, because I know almost nothing about Christmas. Or definitely knew very little until last year, when I actually celebrated Christmas for the first time. People celebrate Christmas in different ways, have different traditions, eat different foods. But Christmas in Delhi (and probably in several parts of India) is viewed as a holiday and a day off from work, more than anything else. In short, it just isn’t as big a deal as it is in other parts of the world. So experiencing real Christmas, in the UK, for the very first time, was a very exciting prospect for me! Add to it the peculiarity that is trademark-Oxford and you have an unbeatable combination.
Christmas in Oxford comes early. ‘Oxmas’ as it is called, takes place on 25th November, because a large majority of its population, which consists of students, are away for their vacation on actual Christmas. This means that everything is pre-poned. Markets, jumper buying, black-tie dinners with traditional food, even Secret Santa parties! All takes place nearly a month before real Christmas. It’s a really festive, happy time and the whole experience really reminded me of Diwali celebrations back home. We even sang carols to collect money for charity! And despite not knowing most of the carols, it was one of the most fun things I did during that period.
Luckily for me, I got another chance to celebrate Christmas when I visited the family of my mum’s college friend for a few days. After some gift exchanging in the morning, we went over to another family’s house to celebrate with them. And despite never having met me before, their warmth was overwhelming. There was TONS and tons of food and several hours of eating and exchanging gifts and watching TV. It was also particularly interesting for me to see how a family that had probably never celebrated Christmas before coming to the UK (they were originally from India), had imbibed so much over time that it seemed perfectly normal for them to be doing all this. The confluence of the Indian and British influences on their Christmas made it extra special. 🙂
This year, I decided to fly back home for the holiday season so once again, I won’t really be celebrating Christmas. But funnily enough, there is a strange feeling of missing something this time. Despite having had my share of celebrating Oxmas this year too, I will always remember that first true Christmas as the best one!